Midway through the 2020 season, Seattle traded for Carlos Dunlap and that was a big part of the defensive turnaround the last half of the year. Dunlap played 8 games for the Seahawks and had 5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits and 6 tackles for loss. Dunlap is still just 32 years old so it wasn’t like he was playing on rekindled fire last year near the end of his career.
What makes Dunlap’s 2021 season so disappointing so far is how good he was after coming to Seattle last year. I thought that Dunlap wouldn’t be able to be re-signed for this year after Seattle released him this offseason (that was part of the agreement Dunlap made to be traded from the Bengals to Seattle in the first place) because I wasn’t sure Seattle would outbid anyone. But he ended up back in Seattle and that seemed like a good thing.
But in 9 games for Seattle this year (one more than he played for the Seahawks in 2020), Dunlap has just a half-sack, absolutely zero tackles for loss and just 4 quarterback hits. Dunlap does have 4 passes defended, though, when he has batted passes down at the line after not getting pressure on the quarterback. That can be effective but not really all you want from a player like Dunlap.
Seattle’s defense has gotten better over the last five games but to continue to be better it needs Dunlap to start making more of a difference. Consistent pressure by Dunlap means less focus on players like Rasheem Green and Darrell Taylor and that would be a great thing.